Towards the end of the 1920’s there was a lack of entertainment in the Edge Hill district outside of the city. This prompted the creation of a super-cinema on Overton Street by the company Capitol Ltd. The architect AT Shennan created the building to fit the diagonal nature of the street. The facade of the building was adorned with four tall finds and three large trough letter signs which read Capitol.
The auditorium seated 1,045 people in the lower section and another 540 in the upper balcony. The design of the balcony was based on American theatres, offering three different entrance levels. It also had an usual design with two straight areas coming out from the walls which were linked by a curved area in the middle. The whole auditorium was lit by v-shaped fixtures housing 300-watt lamps on the ceilings and twelve smaller v-shaped fixtures hung from the balcony ceiling. Up in the projectionist booth were two Kalee projectors which threw the picture 95′ to the screen.
The Capitol opened on the 1st of February, 1930 with 6:30pm and 8:30pm screenings of King of the Khyber Rifles. Two days later a six day run of Broadway Melody began with nightly screenings at 6:30pm and 8:40pm.
When attendance fell in the early 1950s the Capitol started only offering evening screenings. Then, in 1958, they installed CinemaScope and screened Sign of the Pagan. In 1961, as a last effort to increase patronage, the Capitol began offering cine-bingo on Sunday nights which consisted of a feature film and a bingo session. After closing the doors on the 2nd of December, 1961 the building was used as a warehouse by Clement Freeman Ltd. before being converted into an Ambassador Lane Bowling Alley.
By the end of 1960s, when bowling saw a drop in popularity, the building was closed down and later demolished.
Two lady friends, one a ‘Teddy Boy’ share their cinema days of going to the Magnet, Capitol, Carlton and the Regal.
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On Christmas Eve, 1914, the grand opening of the Tunnel Road Picturedrome was announced in the Kinematograph Weekly.
The Tunnel was an impressive structure for the time, both inside and out. The faced of the building was brick with horizontal white bands of buff-coloured stone. The auditorium, which sat 500 patrons on the ground and another 340 in plush seats on the balcony, was designed in blue and red, and contained a 54′ proscenium.
The Tunnel showed a daily matinee and ran continuous screenings in the eventing with prices ranging from 6d to 1/-. It was not uncommon in the early days to see the “House Full” sign out front when screening Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Pearl White serials, and other favorites.
In the early 1930’s the Tunnel upgraded to a Western Electric sound system. With the emergence of of newer super-cinemas around Liverpool “Old Tunny,” as she was known to her patrons, was up against strong competition. However, the Tunnel was the longest running suburban cinema in the city.With the exception of a short closure after the air raids of 1941 the Tunnel was in continuous operation for 54 years.
On the 10th of July, 1961 the Tunnel was renamed the Avenue and business fell off as the local area saw a steep reduction in population. The cinema closed for good on the 7th of December, 1968 with screenings of Cliff Richard’s Finders Keepers and Ambush Boy.
In the years that followed the hall was reopened as a bingo hall and then the Tunnel Club. In 1995 the building was severely damaged by fire and the surviving frontage and outer walls were soon demolished.
“We used to go to the Tunnel ever Saturday afternoon”
Take a look at the Flickr album;